The Walking Dead and Other Spirits
THE WALKING CADAVER
Between Life and Death
Presently there is a brilliant American television show about zombies called The Walking Dead. People in the not too distant future menaced by creatures that were once human but now hunger for the flesh of the living.
One of my first connections with the concept of the walking dead was in the 1930s science fiction film Things to Come. This movie was based on a novella by H. G. Wells by the same name. What's more, Wells had input into the making of the film.
In Things to Come there was a disease that had the victims walking until they dropped or until someone put a bullet into them. This was the result of many years of continuous war. Plague had followed war very closely in the past so for H.G. Wells it made sense that it would do so in what was then our future as well.
In Aldous Huxley's novel Chrome Yellow you have a hint of a possible future world where people are calmed down by pill popping. In Brave New World by the same author you have this future starkly realized. Control through drugs.
In the George Orwell novel 1984 we see history ever changing and the world in continual war. Sex is made out to be filthy even among married couples so that this energy can go to creating ready, willing and able soldiers, servants and even slaves. Religion plays a part in this. Thus people do become like zombies in a sense with no real understanding of the past and their future dictated by others.
There have been numerous stories set in outer space dealing with other worldly vampires. In the 2nd season of the television series Buck Rogers there was an encounter with such a creature.
In the original Star Trek series the spirit of Jack the Ripper created havoc on various worlds and almost destroyed the Enterprise through first manipulation of the crew and then the ship's computer.
Stories of the creature not quite dead and not quite alive can be found in many cultures.
The Egyptians were afraid to die away from Egypt because they believed their spirit might then wander lost, looking for a way to the afterlife it might never find. Hence Egyptians preferred to fight close to home.
The notion of the walking Egyptian cadaver isn't Egyptian at all but a European invention based on the Egyptian idea that the corpse must be preserved, to some extent, for the afterlife. The Catholic notion that the corpse should be buried rather than turned to ash as in some Protestant faiths no doubt has its origins with the Ancient Egyptians.
In past centuries in Europe there has been the fear of being buried alive. It did happen.
The techniques we have for making sure a person is alive or dead weren't available throughout much of our history. One method of working out if a person is alive or dead is to put a mirror up against their face. If the glass fogs over they are alive. If the glass does not fog over they are dead.
Certain forms of epilepsy, however, can have the sufferer breathing so shallow that they can mistaken for dead when they are actually alive. Edgar Allan Poe, the 19th Century American writer, made much of this sort of concern.
At special times In parts of South-East Asia, food is cooked for the spirits of the dead. The smell or the essence of this food is consumed by these past humans and the present day humans eat what remains. This is apparently one way of keeping the dead happy and also where they belong.
Blood has always been a factor in the European understanding of the Undead. In Europe the traditional vampire was female. This changed in the 19th Century. The most famous vampire of that century is Dracula.
Sometimes the Undead are out for revenge. This is true for the main vampires in Disco Evil. Do someone wrong before they die and, if they come back a vampire, watch out.
Check out Disco Evil: Dead Man's Stand by Rod Marsden for a vampire read where the desire to get even becomes a twisted and thoroughly evil thing.
Disco Evil touches upon the darkness in the soul of a particular disco dancer and the more sinister darkness in the dead heart of a creature of the night that came about because of her actions. It deals at length with questions of honor and morality.
For a trip into the supernatural check out GHOST DANCE by Rod Marsden.
With Ghost Dance you have a young man with the werewolf curse. His only hope of leaving the curse behind him is a trip to Germany. Meanwhile there are forces wishing to manipulate him and those around him.
In Ghost Dance there is a vampire and a modern day practitioner of the dark arts. The vampire wants to help the werewolf whereas the practitioner of the dark arts wants to use the werewolf.
In my stories vampires have negative energy and werewolves are supercharged with positive energy.
Vampires are Undead. They hover between life and death.
Werewolves are more alive than a being has a right to be. They are virtually two beings in one.
Vampires are night creatures of the dark imagination. Werewolves can also make this claim though they have only one night a month in which to to run wild.
Vampires and werewolves have been with us for a very long time and it seems that it will be quite a while before they lose their appeal. Certainly the were revived for popular consumption in the Victorian age.
The moon plays its part giving us a cold, mysterious light. It is merely a reflection of the sun's magnificence but it does conjure up certain feelings in humans. From these feelings, some would say, we invent the night creatures such as vampires and werewolves or re-invent them..
They say the gravity of the full moon upon the earth affects the tides in a positive way and can make people more passionate. They can become passionate in a good way or a bad way.
The belief in the spirit world has been with us since before the dawn of recorded time. It is also here to stay.
Very few people are willing to accept death as the end of all. This is at the heart of Christianity. Nowadays, however, there are Atheists around who seem to accept the idea of no God and no afterlife.
Is there a spirit in us all and what happens to this spirit after death?
Is there a final journey?
Houdini the illusionist and escape artist sought answers and so did Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. They ended up discovering fake spiritualists and showing how these fakes went about tricking people.
Even so, neither man gave up the notion that the spirit world really does exist and that there must be spiritualists that are not fakes, that are for real. Of course, by now, both men, one way or another, would have their answers.
Scientist Steven Hawking does not believe in a life after death or, at least, he has no such belief at this present time.
Great writers of fiction such as Steven King have written about the spirit world but what are the facts?
Well, we will all discover what the facts are about the spirit world sooner or later.
There have been some great movies set around the theme that death isn't the end of everything.
Ghost (1990) starring Patrick Swayze is a fine example of a movie about life after death. Just how accurate is it?
Well, nowadays Patrick Swayze knows the truth concerning existence after life.
One great television series dealing with the afterlife and how it impacts upon life is Dead Like Me (2003-2004) starring Ellen Muth.
Are there such things as Grim Reapers? Only in fiction is my answer. AH! But what fiction!
Do check out Terry Pratchett's Death and Death-of-rats in his Disco World novels. Nowadays this popular novelist also knows what there is if anything after death.
There have been quite a few American and British films dealing with the subject of The Vampire. I have always liked Vampire Lovers (1970) starring Ingrid Pitt.
Vampires do not abound in my latest novel, Desk Job, but there are ghosts.
Ghosts inhabit old cemeteries and also places they enjoyed inhabiting when alive.
The old Ramsgate Baths sees its fair share of spirits. It was pulled down long ago and only exists in a phantom state. Even so, it is there, south of Sydney, for the dead that cares to moon-bake and perhaps enjoy a dip in phantom water.
Ghosts can also be found at Central Station, Sydney and also at Town Hall in Sydney. Yes, as a city Sydney is old enough to have its fair share of spirits.
Also check out Desk Job by Rod Marsden for the spirits of the Sydney dead.
More by this Author
The 20th Century, Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Cold War, H. G. Wells, A Woman of Mars, The Hulk, Ian Fleming, Tarzan, A Clockwork Orange, Agatha Christie, Biggles.
Australian Propaganda from convict origins, to outlaws, to World War One, to populate or perish. Racism, Reverse Racism, sexism, loose lips sink ships, Muslims, Christians, bikinis, The Simpsons, USA
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